17 Feb 2017
in drama, expat life, Film Review, History, movies
Tags: biography, history, Japan, Korea, Yi Deok Hye
The Last Princess (2016) captivated me with its dramatic history. It’s a film about a Korean Princess named Deok Hye, who lived from 1912 to 1989. Her father was Emperor when Japan was invading most of Asia. The Japanese wanted to control him, but couldn’t so they poisoned him. A few years later when Deok Hye was 13 she was sent to Japan to be educated. Though she didn’t want to go, she did to protect her mother.
As she grew, she realized she would never be allowed to return to Korea. The Japanese feared that this young, determined woman would stir up rebellion. When she was young, her father had hoped she’d marry Jang-Han Kim comes to Japan hoping to find a way to save her. He’s an officer in the Japanese army, but works with a group of underground rebels, who’re plotting to get the princess and her uncle back to Korea and to attack the core leaders of the Japanese army.
Throughout the film, the main villain isn’t a Japanese officer, but rather a Korean turncoat, Han Taek-soo, who was behind the emperor’s poisoning and will stop at nothing to please the Japanese by manipulating and spying on the Korean royals.
It’s decades before Deok Hye has a real chance to return to her home country. Along the way she bravely faces hardship, sorrow and betrayal.
14 Feb 2017
in expat life, History, politics, YouTube find
Tags: incivility, John Adams, LBJ, Lyndon Johnson, politics, presidents, Thomas Jefferson
Yes, I’ve been binging on Adam Conover’s Adam Ruins Everything. He’s witty, smart and research-based. I may have my students make debunking videos next semester.
The barbs sound better, though perhaps more vicious, in 1800. Am I being biased against modern times?
There are just two bad examples here. I imagine if vulgarity were more rampant, his video would have been longer.
14 Feb 2017
in History, Masterpiece, television
Tags: Jenna Coleman, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, Victoria, Victorian
Jenna Coleman continues to win me over in Masterpiece’s (and ITV’s) Victoria. This week the main problem was poor Albert’s search for a role in the U.K. Naturally, he wants to be more than Mr. Victoria. The queen is aware of the problem, but at first missteps by calling him in for a project. He perks up but when he learns that he won’t be signing documents, just blotting them as any clerk could, he is disappointed.
Victoria’s worry is getting pregnant right away. She’d rather not, though she wants children in time. It’s a natural preference, but in those days not easily done. She receives some wrong advice about jumping up and down ten times after having sex. She does this for a while before Albert finds her and tells her it won’t work.
The big social issue of the episode is American slavery. English abolitionists appeal to Victoria to lend her support, but she wisely passes this off to Albert, who though gawky and nervous about his accent and his English agrees to give a speech against slavery. When that goes over, Albert gets some dignity.
I like this couple that often disagree, but always do with respect. It’s a complex relationship because of their cultural differences and Victoria’s position as a monarch, while Albert has no title, until the Queen figures out how to confer one without ruffling her uncle’s feathers. The Queen is certainly politically astute for such a young woman, which is fascinating.
If find I’m losing patience with the subplot with the ladies’ maid who’s supporting a woman and child. What irks me is that the information about her connection to them comes out so slowly. The mystery is too drawn out. I’d like to see that story speed up.
24 Jan 2017
in Blogging Challenge, expat life, History, postaday, postaweek
Tags: architecture, Australia, China, Great Britain
Westminster Cathedral, London
Beijing, West of Tiananmen Square
Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack invites bloggers to post photos on a particular theme. This week’s theme is history and I definitely have some photos of historic objects and buildings. If you would like to join in (everyone’s welcome to join in!) here’s what to do:
- Create your own post and title it Travel theme: History
- Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
- Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday (unless, of course, I get locked out again!)
- Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.
22 Jan 2017
in 19th century, anglophile, drama, History, Masterpiece
Tags: elaborate, historical drama, historical fiction, Jenna Coleman, Masterpiece, Victoria
Masterpiece’s new drama, Victoria, stars Jenna Coleman as the famed British queen. Beginning when Victoria’s uncle dies and she changes her name from Alexandrina to use Victoria, her middle name, and she becomes the monarch.
From the start Jenna Coleman’s Victoria stands up for herself opposing the manipulative Sir John and her plotting uncle.
After two episodes, I’m drawn in and eager to see how Victoria handles her power and how she and Albert finally end up together. In episode two the focus is on the question of whom Victoria will marry. Her heart, she believes, belongs to Lord Melbourne, her prime minister whose wife ran off with Lord Byron, the poet. In the drama, he lets Victoria know that they can never be together.
The first episodes feature sumptuous costumes and settings. The story moves along nicely. There’s a B story focused on a maid, who’s hiding her past working in a bordello. I’m not sure where that’s going. The maid is elusive and stand offish with the cook, who tries to get to know her. That story hasn’t grabbed me, but perhaps in time, I’ll develop more of an interest.
Victoria has a different feel and tone than Downton Abbey or Poldark, so it shouldn’t be judged on their terms. In its own right it’s a fine drama.
16 Jan 2017
in 19th century, expat life, History, museum
Tags: Australia, convicts, female convicts, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Female Convict clothing and belongings
Female dormitory, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney Australia
Painting of an execution, Hyde Park Barracks Museum
28 Oct 2016
in China, expat life, History, photos, Weekly Photo Challenge
Tags: Asia, China, flâneur, history, man, postaday, postaweek, Zhujiayu
History, depicted and objectified
No matter what I do in China, as welcome as I feel, I’m naturally a flâneur, which is a fancy word for objective observer. Here I’m sharing a recently repainted administration building. I’m sharing a photo from Zhujiayu, the restored village near Jinan. I’m going there again tomorrow so watch this space to find out how that went.
1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.
2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.
3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.
Other themed photos:
14 Jul 2016
in Blogging Challenge, China, History, photo, photography, Uncategorized
Tags: Beijing, building, dllapidated, historic, indoors, old, shambles, stock exchange, tenement
Each week Ailsa of “Where’s My Backpack?” invites bloggers to share travel photos based on a particular theme. This week’s theme is Indoors.
I knew I’d have to share a photo of the interior of Beijing’s first Stock Exchange. It’s been long forgotten and is now just a tenement, where you can hear people cooking, kids playing, etc. Thanks to Jeremaiah Jenne’s walking tour or Tiananmen Square and the area southwest of it, I knew that this isn’t just some old building, whose exterior you can see here. If it hadn’t been for this tour, I would have just walked by this building without giving it a second glance.
Now if you would like to join in (everyone’s welcome to join in!) here’s what to do:
- Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Indoors
- Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
- Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
- Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes.
- Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.
23 Mar 2016
in classic film, film, Film Review, History, New Year's Resolution Old Movie Challenge, opinion, Review, Uncategorized
Tags: A Night to Remember, drama, restrained, Titanic, worth watching
A Night to Remember (1958) is a disaster film with dignity. It lacks the sentimental love story, which was central to Titanic, but that’s why it’s a better film. Directed by Roy Ward Baker, the film shows the swells enjoying the high life and the boisterous fun below in steerage mixed in with the misplaced wire messages about the iceberg and the frustrating refusal of nearby ship called the California to believe the Titanic’s distress messages.
The film shows people of all sorts, some willing to help their fellow passengers and others who’ll kick and claw their way into a lifeboat. The film weaves the facts in so you don’t feel like it’s a history lecture. You root for the characters all the while knowing most won’t make it. When the boat starts tilting so much that it’s at a 45° angle, you feel dreadful. Still the film is rather emotionally restrained, much more so than the more recent film with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Criterion Collection offers a good essay on the film here.
13 Mar 2016
in History, Library Science
Tags: 1950s, family, Harry S. Truman, music critic, Paul Hume, president, protective
I’m thoroughly enjoying my Government Documents class. Last week we looked at Presidents and I found out about a fight between Harry Truman and a music critic, Paul Hume. Hume wrote a very negative review about Truman’s daughter’s singing saying, Margaret Truman was “extremely attractive on the stage… [but] cannot sing very well. She is flat a good deal of the time. And still cannot sing with anything approaching professional finish.”
Her protective presidential father fired back with this letter which was on White House stationery: